Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Killing of Lee Harvey Oswald

Even as a punditling*, whenever I saw this bit of film all I could think is 'bullshit'; this couldn't look more set up if... Well, I can't think of a suitable comparison, because this couldn't possibly look more set up**. And yet, we don't see much except Lee Harvey Oswald falling, culminating in yet another famous photograph from that terrible week...

As narrated by Ed Herlihy, though, one of the most significant plot twists in the story of the assassination of John F. Kennedy takes on the necessary gravitas; Oswald's assassin, Jack Ruby, would die of a 'heart attack' in January 1967 before a new trial might have given history a better glimpse into Ruby's motivation on this day in 1963.

The damage this crime caused to the investigation into the killing of the President is immeasurable; one thing it did do was cement the importance of television in the life of Americans, seeing as it took place live on the air. Any generation, not just the Baby Boomers, who'd witnessed such a thing would most assuredly remain riveted to the box on the off chance that something like it might happen again...

*The technical term for a pundit under the age of 13.
**A photograph taken shortly before an assassination attempt made against Pope John Paul II comes close.

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